Online Graduate Degrees for Media Specialists: Program Options

A media specialist determines and schedules what multimedia equipment is necessary for communication and instruction in schools, libraries and businesses. Online master's degree programs for media specialists are aimed at people who want to be library media specialists in schools. Get more info about online programs, courses and careers for aspiring media specialists.

Essential Information

Online master's degree programs in library media, also called school library information specialist programs, are relatively easy to find. Though the coursework is primarily available over the Web, some on-campus work may be required in the beginning to familiarize students with library media technology. These programs are designed for teachers certified to work in the public school system. The exact regulations for working as a public school information specialist vary by state.

Those who don't intend to work in schools may want to consider an online Master of Library Science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program, both of which are readily available. Some states require professional certification for working in a public library; learn the regulations in your state before choosing an educational program.

Online Master's Degree for Media Specialists Overview

A media specialist plans and coordinates the audio, visual and communication technology for presentations, lectures, classes, meetings and conferences. While media specialists may also work in marketing, journalism and many other industries, current graduate level programs are available online only for prospective library media specialists. Library media specialists are teachers who specialize in multimedia equipment and programs for education, meaning these programs primarily lead to master's degrees in education.

Program Information and Requirements

Library media specialist master's programs can typically be completed within two years for full-time students. Students are evaluated for knowledge and media proficiency through written exams and electronic portfolios that include course projects. Classes require on-time correspondence with instructors and scheduled deadlines for coursework. Some schools require media specialist students to attend an on-campus orientation to become familiar with the advisors, instructors and expectations for online distance learning programs.

Technical requirements include reliable and regular access to high-speed Internet. Because students must submit an electronic portfolio of their projects, external memory devices are recommended. Some classes require the ability to view and burn DVDs. Useful software includes Microsoft Office as well as photo editing and movie editing programs. Email is a common way for students to interact with instructors and classmates, though some schools also utilize online forums.

List of Common Online Media Specialist Courses

Online library media specialist training covers advanced methods for using computers, networks and the Web. Students who are not already comfortable with current computers, software and the Internet must take additional computer courses. Since library media specialists are often working in schools, master's programs contain classes on educational psychology and age-appropriate learning materials.

Issues In Educational Media Course

This course covers the history and development of communication and information technology and the effect on education. Legal topics, including censorship and intellectual property are also discussed.

Research and Information Sources

Students learn to utilize and evaluate electronic and print references. This course outlines productive search techniques and how to aid others in doing research.

Media Resource Administration Course

This course discusses the methods for efficiently managing multi-media equipment for a school and creating a complete library media center. Topics include budgeting, needs assessment and event programming.

Creating Instructional Media Course

In addition to presenting instructional media, library media specialists occasionally have to produce educational material. This course trains students in media technology such as digital cameras, photo and video editing software, web-page development and graphic design programs.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates with a master's degree in library media may be qualified for teaching and library positions in public and private educational institutions and libraries. These positions frequently require that students receive additional certification or licensure.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2010 that 59% of librarians were employed by public and private schools and colleges, while another 28% were employed by local government ( According to a November 2013 report by, school library media specialists earned between $27,938 and $42,793 annually.

Licensing and Continuing Education Information

A master's degree in library media does not include teacher's certification. To become a media specialist for K-12 schools, a teaching license may be required from the state. Each state has its own particular requirements for teacher certification. Graduate students are encouraged, although not required, to gain their teaching license before enrolling in a master's program for library media specialists.

A few schools offer online library media specialist endorsement programs. Endorsements are certifications for instructors in specialized subject areas. Since endorsements are added to existing degrees and licenses, an endorsement program can be completed in only one year.

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